Arts and Crafts in SikarThe popular arts and crafts in Sikar are the elaborate tie-and-dye designs which are also called bandhani designs. These include the dotted designed chunari, the striped diagonal wave designed lahariya, and the large dotted and printed mothra. Sikar is also famous for its embroidery, mirror and appliqué work which adorn these fabrics and create beautifully designed Rajasthani dresses.
Some of the Famous Arts and Crafts in SikarMural Painting
Over centuries, Shekhawati region near Sikar has been altered into a haven of architecture and fine arts due to its famous painted havelis. The loveliest form of embellishment on the havelis is the paintings. In the beginning, the frescoed masterpieces of architecture were supported by Rajput monarchs, however only the rich Marwari merchants gave a special place for the region separate from the other parts of India because of the frescoe treasures in it. These beautiful frescoes decorate the entire portico along with the interior spaces. Painters were present in every area of Shekhawati and both the dry and wet wall painting techniques were popular in the region.
The women of Shekhawati are fond of traditional and beautiful bangles made out of lac. There are special craftsmen who make these special bangles in many towns in the Shekhawati region.
Mojadi Leather Footwear
Mojadi is attractive leather footwear popular in Sikar and the whole of Rajasthan. The leather is full of embroidery including beautiful patterns and colourful designs embedded and stitched.
A greatly developed form of furniture art in Shekhawati is wood carving, especially famous for the elaborately carved wooden windows and doors. The shortage of good quality wood in this area did not prevent the skilled local artisans from performing excellent carving works. The art of wood carving was largely used to adorn window shutters and frames, doors, brackets, beams as well as wooden ceilings. The carvings on the shutters and door frames are of floral and geometrical patterns and brass-plated. The designs of the doors are different in various towns. The primary fort doors and haveli doors are huge, containing a wicket gate and supported with metal plates, spikes and nails for the purpose of security. In a haveli, usually, the door that leads to the inner court is the loveliest with the most intricate carvings. Ramgarh is popular for wooden furniture with elegant carvings, whereas Churu is popular for carving work in a miniature way.
Window shutters and door shutters of the havelis contain geometrical patterned carvings along with brass sheets imprinted with floral patterns. This increases the aesthetics of the area as well as protects and strengthens the shutters. Brass sheets used to be beaten and the patterns desired used to be printed on them. The brass sheets used to be cut in accordance with the design. The embossed brass sheets used to be fitted to the wood shutters using brass and iron nails, decorative brass knobs and strips. Ornamental wooden items and furniture are also adorned with striking patra work.
Painting Work on Wood
Painting work done on wooden brackets and beams was extremely popular in the Shekhawati region. Many havelis in this area have very good varieties of this form of art. Many types of utility articles in wood were also ornamented with beautiful and interesting designs and patterns.
Carving stones of good quality were not easily available in Shekhawati. However, this did not prevent the craftsmen from carrying out excellent carving work in the various havelis. Splendid carvings can be observed in ancient buildings dating back to the period of the Muslim rule. Columns, arches, beams, brackets, cladding panels, plinth slabs and jails used to be carved out of stone. Stone jails used to be carved in thin stone slabs and these were used for openings of windows. Carvings were made in floral and geometric patterns, in a way that light filtered through them, giving a beautiful look. Relief work using stone cladding panels was very popular. Supporting pairs of columns with arches contain tapering shaft and carvings of petals that are lotus shaped and flutings. These supporting columns also contain a capital and a carved base.
Bandhani otherwise called the tie and dye fabric style is famous in the whole of Rajasthan and you can find many centres in Shekhawati too. In this dyeing method, the cloth is tied up into small knots using threads and after dyeing, the knotted areas remain uncoloured. To get elaborate designs, the cloth is dyed many times in various colours. Sikar is the producer of the finest bandhani designs in the whole of Shekhawati. Yet, this craft is also practiced in many towns in the Shekhawati region, such as Jhunjhunu and Mandawa.
Muslims first introduced Blue Glazed Pottery to India which has now been popularized in Jaipur by the king Ram Singh of Jaipur. This famous pottery is done using quartz stone that is finely grinded, fuller`s earth as well as sodium sulphate that is used as an alternative of simple clay. The traditional colours used are white and blue although, of late, yellow, green and pink are also beginning to be used. Most of the pieces are painted using the hand with traditional floral patterns, animal figures and scenes depicting royal families and their lives. Molela village situated north of Udaipur specializes in Terra-cotta pottery and Alwar specializes in producing paper thin pottery. Bikaner is very popular for painted pottery, coloured by lac colours, while Pokharan is popular for red and white clay articles designed in geometric patterns.
Dhurries, Carpets and Namdah
The dhurrie, available in various sizes, is woven in Jaipur, as well as in villages all over Rajasthan. In areas such as Jaisalmer and Bikaner where temperatures drop astonishingly, woolen dhurries woven out of camel’s hair are in plenty of demand. Initially, large carpets were especially used in royal residences. Started in the Mughal period when the prisoners were made to work in looms, this tradition has continued till today. Till now, Bikaner is popular for its purported jail carpets. The Namdah or the felted rug is a widely popular floor covering in Rajasthan. The Namdah usually comes in two main fashions, the appliqué work or the embroidered work.
The primary fabrics created by the weaver are dyed, printed, or embroidered in order to obtain an exotic collection. Every region has its own choice of pattern and colours, and each region uses colours in a particular manner. The two types of printing that are widely applied are batik and block printing and Bagru and Sanganer, are world famous for their block printing style. The Batik style of printing is popular in Barmer and Jaisalmer and the Dye and Tie style of fabric printing is very popular in Jodhpur Sikar. Sikar, Bikaner and Jhunjhunu are also famous for appliqué, mirror work and embroidery.
Stone masons and their chisels are incredibly popular as they use red and pink sandstone, marble, chlorite and tamara to create large statuaries, fresco panels for buildings, planters, religious figures and garden sculptures. From Dholpur which is close to Bharatpur to the desert’s centre Barmer which is in Jaipur, religious statues made of using white marble are extremely popular.